WWF welcomes China's green credit guidelines

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The green credit guidelines issued on Friday by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) provide a leading regulatory framework in green lending, says WWF, the global conservation organization.

"This is a transformative development for China. The guidelines, which apply to both national and overseas credit by Chinese financial institutions, acknowledge the essential role of the banking sector in promoting a green and sustainable economy, as well as the risks presented by activities that are detrimental to the environment and local communities," said Jim Gradoville, CEO of WWF China.

These guidelines place green credit strategies at the highest level, as the bank's Boards of Directors will have the responsibility to "promote green credit concepts, including resource efficiency, environmental protection and sustainable development."

WWF welcomes the new requirements for effective environmental and social risk management, where "banks shall effectively identify, assess, monitor, control and mitigate environmental and social risks" and "disclose information as required by laws and regulations and subject themselves to market and stakeholder supervision."

This provides a clear direction for green lending policies and represents a significant milestone in transforming China's economic development and China's growing overseas investments. Based on the CBRC guidelines, banks will "publicly commit to adopt international best practices or standards for overseas projects."

"China has become the second largest economy in the world and its growing influence needs to be matched by responsibility of its investments," added Dr. Li Lin, Leader of WWF's China for a Global Shift Initiative. "This means not only reducing lending to high polluting industries, but also paying more attention to better management of natural resources and biodiversity protection. From this perspective, it will be important in the future to quantify the impacts of credit policies in terms of reduced pollutants and increased resource efficiency."

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